Cyber threats increased 81% since pandemic

McAfee Enterprise and FireEye say there is an imminent need for organisations to prioritise and strengthen their cybersecurity architecture.

McAfee Enterprise and FireEye have released their Cybercrime in a Pandemic World: The Impact of COVID-19 findings, revealing the imminent need for organisations to prioritise and strengthen their cybersecurity architecture. The findings indicate that during the pandemic, 81% of global organisations experienced increased cyber threats with 79% experiencing downtime due to a cyber incident during a peak season. As the holiday season approaches, supply chain and logistics, e-commerce and retail, and the travel industry see predictable increases in consumer and business activity - making them more vulnerable to cyber threats and leaving business, employee and consumer data at risk.

“It is imperative all businesses prioritise security technology to keep them protected, especially during the peak holiday season,” said Bryan Palma, CEO of the newly combined McAfee Enterprise and FireEye. “Ninety-four percent of IT professionals want their organisation to improve its overall cyber readiness. Businesses must do more and need an intelligent security architecture for managing today’s sophisticated threat landscape.”

Heightened Focus on Key Industries
In addition to increased consumer spending, the holiday season sees a significant impact on industries coping with the increase in consumer demands. 86% of organisations are anticipating a moderate to substantial increase in demand during the 2021 holiday season. This year, the “everything shortage” is real – from a shortage in workforce to limited supplies to lack of delivery services. This creates an urgency for organizations to have actionable security plans and to effectively contain and respond to threats.

Supply Chain & Logistics
According to BCI’s Supply Chain Resilience Report 2021, 27.8% of organisations reported more than 20 supply chain disruptions during 2020, up from just 4.8% reporting the same number in 2019. The loss of manufacturing and logistics capacity, and employee-power, paired with increasing demand for goods, has created the perfect attack vector for cybercriminals: a potentially weak and vulnerable infrastructure to break through. Supply chain managers must identify risks, understand the potential downstream effects of a security breach or cyberattack, and prepare response plans so they can act quickly in the event of an incident.

E-Commerce & Retail
According to Adobe’s 2021 Digital Economy Index, global online spending is expected to increase by 11% in 2021 to $910 billion during the holiday season. With store closures and increases in online shopping, along with limited product availability and concerns about shipping, this industry is faced with more threats than before. According to McAfee Enterprise COVID-19 dashboard, the global retail industry accounts for 5.2% of the total detected cyber threats. Such threats include compromised payment credentials and cloud storage, as well as other forms of retail fraud and theft.

Travel
Cyber threats aren’t new to the travel industry – airports, airlines, travel sites and ride-sharing apps have been victims in years past. However, what sets it apart this year is that the industry has been in a holding pattern because of pandemic-related health concerns and travel restrictions. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), coronavirus-related loss estimates for 2020 total $137.7 billion—with total industry losses in 2020-2022 expected to reach $201 billion. As demand for holiday travel is expected to increase over the coming months, cyber criminals are watching closely as the industry battles new challenges related to- labour shortages, supply chain issues, travel bans and vaccination requirements - and profiting from vulnerabilities as much as they can.

What organisations need to know

While IT professionals know cyber threats have intensified, the findings prove that organizations have not effectively prioritized security during COVID-19:

  • 60% saw an increase in online/web activity
  • 33% have had their technology and security budgets reduced
  • 56% have suffered from downtime due to a cyber concern, costing some over $100,000 USD
  • 76% find maintaining a fully staffed security team/SOC even more challenging during peak periods

McAfee Enterprise and FireEye commissioned a global independent market research specialist MSI-ACI to undertake the research for this study. Between September and October 2021, the quantitative study was carried out, interviewing 1,451 IT and line of business decision makers. Respondents came from the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, India, Singapore, South Africa and UAE. Respondents had to be an IT business professional, involved in IT security and work for an organization with more than 500 employees.

Interviews were conducted online using a rigorous multi-level screening process to ensure that only suitable candidates were given the opportunity to participate.

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